The World Can Learn a Thing or Two From Canada

Written By: The Planet D

This year,  Canada made history. No we didn’t win an unprecedented amount of medals at the Olympics and we didn’t have an earth shattering election outcome, but we did make a mark in history that will never be forgotten.

While our neighbours to the south suffer scandal after scandal and the world seems more divided than ever, Canada came together as a nation to watch a rock concert.

Tragically Hip
Tragically Hip’s Sunnybrook Foundation photo

This wasn’t just any rock concert. This was Canada’s band, The Tragically Hip.

The World Can Learn a Thing or Two From Canada and The Tragically Hip

The CBC, our national broadcasting network pre-empted their primetime coverage of the Olympic Games from Rio to play the Tragically Hip’s final concert live from Kingston, Ontario for the entire nation. They gave up millions in revenue and ad space so that Canadians could say goodbye to their most beloved band. This may well be The Tragically Hip’s final concert ever.

You see, it’s not a publicity stunt for The Hip to try to make a few more bucks saying that this is their last hurrah to fill seats. This is a concert event for a poet to go out the way he wants, doing what he loves.

Interested in Learning More about Canada? Check out the Great Canadian Word

Gord Downie, the lead singer of The Tragically Hip was diagnosed with Glioblastoma this past December.

Glioblastoma is an aggressive form of incurable brain cancer that generally claims its victims in less than a year.

Instead of quietly succumbing to the disease, The Tragically Hip rallied for one last hurrah going out in a way that only great Canadian icons can. They toured.

tragically hip

When Downie went public, he started the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research to raise much needed funds for cancer research at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.

The research will help patients at not only Sunnybrook, but across Canada and around the world.

You can donate to the cause here: Sunnybrook Foundation

After Downie finished up his surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, the Tragically Hip hit the road to play an emotional cross-country tour starting in Victoria, British Columbia playing to sold out crowd after sold out crowd from Vancouver to Toronto.

I watched on social media as friends shared their stories of The Hip and prepared for teary eyed concerts for weeks leading up to the final event broadcast on The CBC for the entire country to have a chance to witness history in the making.

Last night was the Tragically Hip’s final performance in their hometown of Kingston Ontario. They decided to end where it all began.

Downie thanked the fans for coming and commented on how they played their first concert in Kingston. Downie said “We started here, as you know, and opened up to 13 people.

And at our next show, we had 28. And the next after that, we had six.” Cheers to The Tragically Hip, you’ve come a long way baby.

Check out the film Being Canadian to see what it is like being Canadian by Canadians. 

The Kingson K-Rock Centre only only holds 6000 people but it was a fitting venue for their final farewell.

They had an entire country watching their every breath.

More than 20,000 fans gathered outside the arena to watch on the big screen while the rest of Canada watched from various locations.

We saw people sharing on social media from Vietnam (Hi Jason), watching in their backyards, some people projected the concert on building’s walls, on big screens in Toronto and from bars around the country.

Dave and I watched it with my mom and dad in their big screen TV at home with full surround sound. It was perfect.

Canada the Tragically Hip
Canada Unites at the Tragically Hip

My parents didn’t know much about The Tragically Hip. I wasn’t even sure they would be interested in watching.

But as the concert went on, they noted how much they enjoyed their music.

Dad commented that he sings like a folk musician and mom was in awe that he is fighting his battle doing what he loved. The Tragically Hip’s music always has a profound affect on everyone.

Love Music? Read Songs to Inspire Travel

Dave and I have been listening to The Tragically Hip for 26 of their 30 year career.

I was introduced to The Hip by my housemate in college around 1990. Before coming to Sheridan College where we studied Music Theatre together she got her theatre degree at Queens’ University where The Hip was a popular college band playing to the university circuit.

They had broken big in Canada by the time Dave and I met in 1991 and have been the soundtrack of ours and most Canadian’s lives ever since.

Seeing the tragically hip in Cleveland

We’ve seen them in concert at festivals a couple of times and a couple of years ago, my friend Kelly became a fan and invited me on a road trip to see them in Cleveland.

It was small crowd and I was excited, but I was quickly disappointed that they went into their deep tracks singing a mellow set that left me flat.

Last night’s concert gave me everything I wanted. All their hits and more. Energy, excitement, and poetry. It was the ultimate Canadian experience.

My mom and dad loved the concert and couldn’t believe that the CBC dedicated so much time commercial free to a band.

The Olympics were still going on live, but Canada took a break from the games to celebrate from within.

Even in Rio, our Olympic athletes gathered at Canada House on Copacabana Beach to watch the festivities with longtime broadcaster Ron McLean who interviewed Justin Trudeau via satellite before the concert.

Ron McLean and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau before the Tragically Hip Concert


Our Prime Minister attended the concert like a regular person and fan of the iconic band.

Clad in a jean jacket and a Tragically Hip T-Shirt he talked to Ron about “how all week he wished he was at the games in Rio, but how tonight he was glad he was in Kingston instead.

Prime Minister with Tragically Hip

He walked through the crowd like the rest of us eating poutine and taking selfies with fans and he grew emotional when Gord Downie thanked him for coming.

He didn’t detract from the event as some people feared, he added to the event.

canada and the Tragically Hip
A selfie that showed up on my social media feed courtesy of Ytravel Blog in Australia!

Photo courtesy of Angela Irving at Advanced Business Abilities

We marvelled at how a leader of a country could attend a public event and watch from the centre of the action free from incident.

I don’t think this could have happened anywhere else. No world leader would be clad in a jean jacket with a concert T-shirt on taking photographs with other Hip lovers as he walked through the crowds.

He was embraced by the crowd, by Canadians and by Gord Downie himself who thanked the Prime Minister for coming and said “Prime minister Trudeau’s got me, his work with First Nations. He’s got everybody. He’s going to take us where we need to go” We’re in good hands.

Justin Trudeau in the audience

As Americans riot at political rallies, Canadians sing and cry together en masse celebrating what we love about this country.

Our unity. As the world is more divided than ever, Canada proved that one nation can stand together to celebrate greatness.

Gord Downie is a poet, he is the Shakespeare of Canada. He hits a chord in our hearts.

Singing lyrics about Bobcaygeon, Bill Barilko, The Hundredth Meridian where the great plains begin, that famous goal in Seventy Two, and of course the Late Breaking News on the CBC.

Enjoy Listening to Bobcaygeon on Spotify

With each song, my eyes welled up. Not necessarily because of his tragic disease, but because of my great pride in my country. I don’t think I have ever been more proud to be Canadian.

This is a band that is all ours. Sure, people around the world have heard of them, but The Tragically Hip sing about things that only we Canadians can understand.

We’re in on the private references to Canadian nostalgia. And nobody else gets to have that. No matter how much of a fan you are, you can’t relate to our “High school’s walls hung with our parent’s Prime Ministers” or “You were loosening my grip on Bobby Orr.”

Gord Downie with Prime Minister
This isn’t your parent’s Prime Minister:  Photo courtesy of The Tragically Hip’s Twitter feed.

Canada Pride and a Nation’s Identity

30 years ago, Canada lacked national pride and identity. The Tragically Hip formed 30 years ago and they have led the way for a generation to find their identity and to develop into a country that the world looks towards to guidance.

We aren’t a super power invading countries for their oil, we aren’t a financial hub making money off of refugees, we aren’t building mega cities from dust to prove something to the world. We are simply Canadian.

We welcome the less fortunate across our borders with hope of them gaining a better life.

We encourage cultures to keep their identity and value diversity. We apologize uncessarily and we are a nation where people can randomly bump into our shirtless Prime Minister out for a hike in the woods with his family.

Canada is “Ahead by a Century”…Come on world, join us!

Listen to Ahead by a Century, The Tragically Hip:

Even in the Olympics when Japan bumped our racewalker, Evan Dunfee, causing him to lose the bronz medal, Canada won an appeal to have him disqualified.

Dunfee was awarded the bronze medal only to have Japan lobby again to take it back. Dunfee could have rallied back, but he responded, “This isn’t the way I want to win a medal” We’re just so darn good!

Read more about Canada at: Canadian Stereotypes and Misconceptions

canada olympians
Our Canadian Olympic Heroes.

Dave and I were just in the United States during some of the Olympic coverage and we saw how the U.S. media tore down American gymnast Simone Bile for a stumble on the balance beam.

The headline was how one stumble could cost her millions. Newsweek stated how she just lost her chance at creating history and it was not the colour Americans wanted. Come on! She won four golds and one bronze, that is something to be celebrated!

It was then that it all clicked. Sure, as Canadians we’re bummed that we don’t win multiple golds like the US, but the pressure that country puts on their athletes is unbelievable.

We Celebrate Gold, Silver and Bronze. Our athletes come back as heroes not because of the hardware they won, but because of the way they represented our nation.

Our athletes, our Prime Minister, Canadians abroad, and The Tragically Hip represent our nation “Armed with will and determination, and grace, too.”


And now we will leave you with The Tragically Hip’s Grace Too:

Read Next:  The Best Road Trip Songs to Get you Through the long Ride

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

93 thoughts on “The World Can Learn a Thing or Two From Canada”

  1. The concert popped up on my Facebook memories today. This final concert by the Hip did unify Canada at the time and is a good reminder today, especially in 2020, that we need to come together when times are tough.

  2. I love the tragically hip! my favorite song by them is bobcaygeon, but i also really like: wheat kings, little bones, three pistols and 38 years over and they have been seriously underated!

  3. Justin Trudeau – Now he is a fine example of what a modern day PM should be. Not many people know that India and Canada share the same model of democracy, and even though our PM Mode is trying to be a global leader, but Hats of to Canada.

  4. Don’t give up Gord !!! From Penn State U , they have made huge curable advance to your disease! That’s right, just south of the border!
    PLEASE, PLEASE, INQUIRE for a study & choose to live

  5. What struck me in Canada was the real difference between states / provinces and seasons. Places can seem completely different after a few months or just by travelling between two cities.

  6. Brilliant article. My people are all Canadian, and it’s such a different attitude from the US. Hope springs eternal that someday, Canada will annex Seattle.

  7. I love Canada. I lived there for a year and fell in love with the place. I immediately got introduced to the Tragically Hip.

    Canada…. It’s like New Zealand…apart from the bears.

  8. Brilliant article. Thank you for sharing. I was born in the UK but currently reside in South Africa for the last 48 years. My forefathers we French Canadians. This story put a lump in my throught to hear how a Nation can come together as one & are One Nation.
    I have friends who live in Canada who say it’s the Best County in the World to live in.
    If I were to get a job offer, I would be on the next plane out of here as I would love to be part of your Beautiful Nation just like my Forefathers were.
    Maybe one day soon, I can also call myself a PROUD CANADIAN.
    Well Done Canada. Keep up the Great Work.

  9. What a beautiful moving article! Being from the U.S. I have been deeply moved by the Canadian People, Music and Love. Just awesome!

  10. Born in Scotland… Raised in England.. Lived in England ’til I was 33. Moved to Montreal, Canada 12 years ago and became a Candian citizen 3 years ago. I never quite got into the Tragically Hip, and barely knew the band but did hear their songs in CHOM97.7 and did like them! . Why am I writing this?. Because I thought you’d like to know that I’m crying my eyes out reading this… Why is that ??.. After careful analysis I’ve concluded it’s because I’m PROUD to be CANADIAN. This event embodies that…. Thanks for writing it..

  11. Thank you for such a beautiful tribute to a GREAT band and to Canadians and our way of life!

    Bernadette, among the “others” you refer to, I’ve just gotta say: We’ve also got Leonard Cohen and KD Lang! 🙂

  12. I am very proud that Canadians can vote for a new generation to be prime minister. That we dare raise the bar for a younger politician. Thanks every who voted for new blood. You can feel the difference. For the Tragically HIP also raising the bar in giving back one last time precious moments.

  13. One of the best articles I have read in years. Thank you for getting what it means to be Canadian and sharing it with others. WE ARE PROUD TO BE CANADIAN! !!!

  14. Beautifully written. I usually cast a baleful eye towards any attempts to create a “Canadian Moment”, but even I was profoundly moved by the real and spontaneous coming together of the entire country on Saturday night. Here in cottage country on Lake Winnipeg, the sounds of The Hip wafted on the breeze through the pines from dozens of private and public gatherings on that magical evening. Truly proud and humbled to live in this amazing country!

  15. Great article that relates a great event . Thank you for presenting an honest image of a great nation . I love Canada . Your prime minister is making the world fall in love with your country . God bless .

  16. ” We aren’t a super power invading countries for their oil, we aren’t a financial hub making money off of refugees, we aren’t building mega cities from dust to prove something to the world. We are simply Canadian.” You ought to be PROUD for who you are ; the true citizens of the world ENVY you ! What a GREAT country Canada is ! I so wish I was a Canadian ! God bless Canada .

  17. The CBC did not give up millions in revenue and ad space. Canadian taxpayers pay a billion dollars annually for those few hours of commercial free tv that the CBC provided.

  18. It is wonderful that the world recognizes us as kind, polite, intelligent people who dont try to get noticed by being agressive, win-at-all costs, types. Ratio wise as to population, Canada was amazing at the Olympics. Be we Canadian or any nationality, what we display is that we have brought up with values, kindness, peaceable, decency towards ALL. It is a fine testimony that our PM can go for a night out and honour musicians who have plyed their craft for so long and so well. We have problems but basically, it is a great environment here. Thanks for adding to our enjoyment, Gordie and ThecTragically Hip.

  19. I AM an American….but I’m pleased to say that I spend weekends as a Canadian, in our 1000 Islands cottage. I was priviliged to watch the CBC broadcast of The Hip’s Kingston show, in a tavern, in a small Canadian boarder town, surrounded by Canadians. As I watched, I said to my husband that this would NEVER happen in The States, because of money. My hats off to Canada, for understanding what is TRULY important. I hope that my country can take a page out of your book, but the longer I live in the USA, the more I think that I need to move North of the boarder. We have been embraced by our Canadian neighbors, who accept our confused looks as truth when we are asked questions about American politics, healthcare, public assistance, etc. We wish that our American friends could get a feel for the Canadian way of life, and hopefully transcend that into a better American way of life. Then, I wake up from the dream, recognizing the impossibility, and continue to be thankful that I am allowed to spend weekends as a tax paying property owner in Canada. Cheers to you, Canada, for being able to do things for the right reason for the masses, and not for financial gain of a few.

  20. Thank you for taking the time to write what we have all been feeling! Beautifully written! From one proud Canadian to another.

  21. in 10, 15, 20 years from now explore and realize how much the Tragically Hip meant to this country, I want this article to be a footnote in their journey. Congrats Deb and Dave, on writing such a beautiful and significant piece to capture what Canada was thinking and doing during that 30 song set. Just like a Tragically Hip album, you guys hit what every Canadian was feeling in this article. Great piece .

  22. The morning after the concert, I went for a 10 km run (listening to the hip) and I noted how every person I came across smiled at me and wished me “Good morning”. Truly, I attributed this to the karma endowed on our culture the night before.

  23. I’m blessed.

    I need to thank my brother Jeff who introduced me to that highway girl. I was young. All of 15. 15 is too early to fall in love many would say. But I did.

    He took me to my first show. 1991. 38 years old turned love to a passion. That passion turned to Courage and Grace, too. It could have been the Willy Nelson. Could of been the wine.

    But every road trip, camp fire or road side attraction turned to you. Gord, please. Don’t let disappointing me get you down.

    I lived. Loved. I was tragically hip, too. You are punk, you are rock n roll and a little bit of country.

    Thank you for being the greatest story teller of all time. And thank you to my brother for introducing us.

  24. I have to say that I’ve never listened to a Tragically Hip song or seen a video – unless it was playing in the background somewhere at which time I would not have been able to recognize the song or the band. I will listen to the songs included in this blog.

  25. I have always been a proud Canadian, but this whole experience over the past couple of days has made feel that this is absolutely the best place on the planet. I am proud of our country and how we all try to believe in and do what is good for all of us, not just for “ME”!

  26. Great post Deb and Dave, you explained our relationship to the Hip well. Proud to be Canadian and someone who also grew up to the Hip – and national pride — we will always articulate it OUR WAY.

  27. Kudos to CBC for bringing this to all of us! I tried to get tickets but no luck. I was thrilled to hear the CBC was going to live stream the concert and I watched this fabulous concert with great Canadian pride from start to finish. I moved to Victoria in 1986 and The Hip became the “House Band” for a brand new radio station in Victoria called The Q. I’ve listened to both The Q and The Hip ever since.
    Both sets of my grandparents were immigrants to Canada- One set from Italy and the other set from Scotland and England. They both arrived here right after WW1 in 1919. They both met and married their spouses here, all struggled to establish their lives, afford a roof over their heads and feed their children. All 4 of them proudly became Canadian citizens -that was one of my grandparents keystone moments in their lives. My Italian grandparents had to learn English -which they did. My grandparents were always very grateful to Canada for accepting them.
    My parents were born as 1st generation Canadians in the 1920’s. In the 1950’s my sister and I arrived, in the 1970’s and 80’s my children and neice’s and nephews arrived and in 2011 my first granddaughter became the start of the 4th generation to be born here. I feel so lucky that my grandparents chose Canada to come to. We have so many uniquely Canadain accomplishments and people to be proud of!

  28. When I was a young man I envied my relatives south of the border. They always had the biggest and the best of everything. Now that I have matured I quickly realize it is them who should envy us. Canada has a heart as big as the country itself. We look that the world and say: How can we improve the lives of others keeping in mind the basic principals of respect and dignity for all. We do not walk around proclaiming how great we are or flaunt our views in a blustery crass tone to the rest of the world. Canada is a great example of what we can do collectively. Sure we have problems, but we accept dialogue and understanding over confrontation and isolation. I no longer envy any country on this planet, I have come to realize we have it so good in this country anything else is just a dream! To the Hip be strong in knowing your contribution to this great country will live on in the minds of many for decades to come! Thank you for wonderful moments in time!

  29. Everything about this post is amazing. Thank you for representing Canada so well. It doesn’t matter where I go in the world I’m always so happy to call Canada my home. The Hip are just another example of the amazingly selfless and inspiring people we have here in this country.

  30. I found a fantastic petition online to nominate Gord Downie as Poet Laureate. I have added the suggestion to my comments the petition hould be changed to honorary Poet Laureate. The current poet laureate has an actual duty to do work for the government Gord won’t have time for. And George Elliot Clarke must be an amazing poet in his own right to have received the position in the first place. This shouldn’t overshadow his work.

    However, those that feel the way you do as reflected in this blog might want to consider signing.

  31. My Canadian/American friend (Marie) shared with me on F. Beautifully Done, Inspiring and refreshing. Thank you Canadian Friends for your United stand, courage and strength (very nice). (WAYTOGO) I end with”Jean” and Class Act

  32. Wow, wow, wow! I’m South African, and proudly so but now I’m also so proud of Canada and what you guys stand for. Kudos to Tragically Hip, Canada and Canadians.. This is what the world is supposed to be like????

  33. Thank you so much for what you have made available to Canadians about what is really important! It makes me very proud to be a Canadian.

  34. While I would never have labelled myself a fan (one who buys CD’s), I have liked their music since day one. I am however a huge fan of Canada, my home. I am so proud of the band, CBC for doing what they did, and my fellow Canadians. Did we show the world they have something to learn from us? Maybe. It could be just immense enthusiasm for our home, leading to a slight bit of arrogance. Maybe. But we definitely did show the world one thing… how to love and how to do it without strings attached, unconditionally. For those who took this time to get political about our Prime Minister or who feel this wonderful moment in time somehow doesn’t represent them or who resents being lumped in with other Canadians doing something special, you make me sad not proud. I hope you do better in the future. Wonderful article! Thank you!!

  35. Such a wonderfully written article. Thank you for eloquently echoing the sentiment felt by so many of us. The link to this article led me to the rest of your blog; inspiring, informative and just plain makes me smile?. Thanks so much you two.

  36. Incredible, I wish I was back in Fernie to celebrate this. And that’s the concert was, a celebration of the Tragically Hip.

  37. Spot on! You have capsulized how I was feeling. We didn’t attend a large gathering (6,000 attended the screening in Officers’ Square Fredericton). Instead, we celebrating like the Hip would want; outdoors on a Muskoka Chair, sipping red wine, chillin’ to the music @ work. I lost my son-in-law to a brain tumour two years ago, so this event was close to home & close to the bone. I too was proud of Gord calling out the PM, but hey, that’s classic Gord. We will miss the Hip, so I’m glad we have this beautiful memory to keep with us. I intend to share your blog with my office cohorts! Write on!

  38. Thank You for this wonderful article that says it all. For me this article made me very emotional and so proud to be Canadian.

  39. Fantastic article! I’m so proud to be Canadian right now:) I danced in my living room to the Hip that night watching the concert with tears as well, holding a celebratory ale…During the concert I had to walk my dog (of course I pvr’d first) and as I walked down my usually quiet street, you could hear The Hip from almost every home and live televised somewhere in my town…such a feeling of home; as Iistened as Canadian gathered…. “United we stand divided we fall!” We love you Gordon…how inspiring to watch your spirit triumph and celebrate your own passions and life by doing what you love…entertaining Canada! xoxo

  40. Canada has always had a strong national identity, as Michelle Dosen pointed out and Steve reminds us that not all of us consider the Tragically Hip to be Canada’s band.They are, however, one of Canada’s bands, part of a multitude of artists who create a vibrant mosaic of Canadian identity, Stompin Tom Connors, Anne Murray,, Murray McLaughlin and one of the most iconic of all, Gordon Lightfoot. We can’t forget the Guess Who, Five Man Electrical Band, The Nylons, Bachman Turner Overdrive, the Stampeders, Trooper,,the list goes on and on’ there are so many that i can’t name them all The Tragically Hip has their place in our hearts, our history, our heritage. Gord Downie’s courage is an inspiration to us all, his grace and humility and lack of the ‘I’m a celebrity” attitude endears him to us. He helps to remind us that we have a pretty good thing going here in Canada and we wouldn’t want it any other way

  41. Beautiful post, Deb [& Dave :)]…summarizes our feelings better than we could articulate. I get teary-eyed every time I think about this, read an article, or see pieces of the concert, both because of the pride I feel and because of the tragedy of it. Thanks for sharing!

  42. Hi Deb and Dave. Thank you for the great article. I am a Canadian who lives in Perth Australia. I just got back from a trip home last week. It was my wife’s first time in Canada. She is English. She loved Canada for so many reasons. I truly believe that Canada paves the way for the free world. It has nothing to do with money or military might but everything to do with openness and humanity.

  43. Canada is the most beautiful country in the world.. it has so many travel options.. I love Canada’s traditional food… Thanks for this beautiful post about Canada..

  44. As someone who lost a father to cancer I feel for Mr Downie and wish him the best, but as for saying ALL OF CANADA was watching is just a bit much for me. I never connected in the slightest with their music and all I see in this concert is a typical Canadian “sheep” reaction to something, no different to any big stickpuck game. “Oooooooooooooo lots of people are doing this so let’s do it too”. If this is what it takes to be defined as a Canadian then maybe it’s time to make plans to move.

  45. At 23, I didn’t know that the band I was listening to, on Canada Day, at Landsdowne in Ottawa – were going to be a part of my life for the next 30 some years. My boyfriend and crew of friends were just enjoying a great time. Sun was shining, people were celebrating and we were having fun. Gordie and the band looked like they were doing the same on stage. Instant connection was made – no pre-tense, no ego, just a bunch of young guys from Kingston who were doing something really cool for the afternoon. Only they did more than that – they quietly went on to capture the hearts of people with songs about things that make us feel special. Yup, that it was mostly about people, places, and things that have occurred in Canada – has given us a sense of oneness with the band…they taught us a little about our own history and the importance of how the small things really end up being the big things that we all can relate to!
    I watched the show last night with my oldest son, 20 who is a cancer survivor and a couple of his childhood buddies, while my hubby (boyfriend – 30 yrs ago) spent the day in Kingston with my youngest son, 18 who is searching for that something that can be a little elusive for those of us who have more questions than answers most days ….. The Tragically Hip – Gordie’s road…shared the gift of life’s challenges and triumphs all in one night – truly emotional experience for which I am grateful – I got to selfishly relive my own journey.

  46. No this is not my parents Prime Minister.That would be Mike Pearson OBE, Nobel peace prize winner who brought national health care, student loans, and the iconic Canadian flag to our nation. We have had some amazing leadership in this country & Justin Trudeau is continuing that role. #proudcanadian

  47. The question is often asked: “what defines Canada?” Last night’s concert and the Canadian Olympic athletes answers that question to the world. I love being Canadian, we’re not perfect but pretty darn close!

  48. I started listening to the Tragically Hip in 1991 when they first got on their way to fame. The thing that I love and will always love about the Hip is that they write about stuff only us Canadian’s will understand. I have to say that the concert last night was top notch and on a closing note, I will say this, all of us Hip fans will continue to listen to your music and we are all going to miss ya.

  49. Way to go CBC for showing what it means to be Canadian. My most shocking Olympic moment was Ashton Eaton wearing a Cdn hat to support his Canadian wife competing. I couldn’t believe the hate tweets from Americans calling him a trader. It’s his wife!

  50. Thank you for writing a great article outlining what Gord Downie’s personal plight and The Tragically Hip concert represents to us Canadians.

    I would add something that I am realizing as I age. One thing in common with tragic circumstances is that it brings people together in love. Whether the sad situation is personal, national or worldwide. The enormous support people give as they unite for a common concern is with Love. There is no room for hate when people come together as they did last night. Perhaps that is the message we need to understand from these grave circumstances that continually touch all of our hearts and souls.

    I am a proud Canadian and feel fortunate to have been born in Canada. A nation that values human life and the diversity of its people. Values that embrace love and respect for one another. A country that strives to bring Unity through love and peace. The message Canada delivered last night reflects our core values. Canadians that represent a loving and peaceful country doing its part to bring the same to the whole world. The ultimate goal is for the whole world to unite with love and peace. An altruistic goal that doesn’t seem plausible at the moment but our Canadian determination and relentless pride continually moves us peacefully forward. You are right in that “The World Can Learn a Thing or Two From Canada and The Tragically Hip”. What Canadians did last night is what the rest of the world needs to do to embrace the goal of a loving peaceful world.

    Thank you again

  51. I think the only thing that would have had more viewers than the concert would be a gold medal hockey game, and thats a maybe. great article thank you

  52. I’m sorry, but the suggestion that “30 years ago, Canada lacked pride and identity” is NOT true, never was true, and never will be true. I’m over thirty years old, I’ve lived in Canada for all of my life, and I can tell you that there has never been a lack of identity or pride here. The Tragically Hip didn’t give us our pride or our identity, but they did add to them in a huge way. We’re proud of The Tragically Hip and all of their achievements, including this amazing tour, but we also have other things that we’ve always been proud of as a nation too.

    Now, with that said, I’d also like to say way to go, Gordie. You and the rest of my band have my utmost respect and admiration for doing this tour and especially this concert. You very clearly gave this your all. Not only did you sing for over two and a half hours, but came back for more multiple encores. We’ll always remember you for that passion and that devotion to your fans as well as your incredible musical talent. We love you guys and will miss you all.

  53. this article was as good reading as sitting there watching the concert. It does justice to the Hip, not that they needed anyone to do them justice. I’ve been a fan forever and always will be, they deserved the CBC primetime spot, Canadiens deserved it.

  54. My 9 year son and I watched the concert last night. I explained to him why The Hip is so important to Canada and me – how I grew up with their songs on the radio. I sat with him and he asked me questions about Gord’s shiny pants and how come the singer sounded old. I explained that he was sick and this was the bands way of saying thank you, and goodbye and for allowing all of Canada to have one last chance to experience the band. I hope that when he is a little older he remembers sitting with me and taking in the experience.

  55. All true. However, it would hold more weight if you knew2 the difference between a possessive and a plural. Please! Invading countries, and building mega cities. Grammar still counts, even in Canada

  56. Really great post, Deb. I haven’t been a lifelong fan of the Hip, but I have certainly come to appreciate their music thanks to the past month as the CBC has played so much of it. I watched last night’s final concert from Kingston and felt really proud to be Canadian.

  57. Michelle Dosen you are right. Don’t get me wrong, this is a wonderful article. Well written, beautiful and dripping in the best of raw Canadian pride and emotion. But we have always been this way, we have always loved our country. And in my opinion, except maybe the last thirty years, we have always believed Canada was the best. I think what has happened is many of our new immigrants are coming to our country with greater wealth than ones before. And I think some, not all, view us as an extension of the USA and this may have diluted our Canadiana with too much Americana. I just hope they watched last nights concert, and read all the beautiful sentiments like this. So that they too can understand what it’s like to be part of this beautiful country we call Canada. Once again beautiful article, thank you for sharing this.

  58. Thank you Deb, for that articulate and inspiring take on last night, North America, life, love. I’ve been a big Hip fan here in Northern California since the early ’90s, caught them several times at the Fillmore, and made the pilgrimage north to Victoria and Vancouver in July, to pay my respects to Gord. He has given me so much, to “keep pushing”, and get through the dark times, to cathartically move my bones and heart to resonant music, rockstar poet that he is– I had to hear him sing in person again before he leaves us. Yesterday I was 2600 miles away from Kingston, at work, but thanks to modern technology and open hearted facilitators of it, I was able to be there with all you all– with all of us. I may not be Canadian, but I am human, and it warms my heart to know there is a people on this planet as compassionate and intelligent as Canadians. Who are taking responsibility for taking care of oneanother, of reversing the legacy of how First Nations people, of how the earth, has been abused in the past. In the name of money, of power-over. Thank you, CBC, for setting the example that money isn’t the most important thing. Thank you, Canada, for showing the world how to take care of eachother, how to live in partnership, in what the Quero people of Peru would call “Ayni”, which means “sacred reciprocity”. Thank you, Deb, for your piece about last night. Thank you Tragically Hip, for providing the soundtrack for so many moments of my life. And thank you, Gord, for giving voice to so much that needed expression. Your work here is done, brother, may your transition be gentle. I’ll see you again someday, out on Fiddler’s Green!

  59. I’m very proud of our country and our citizens. I’m proud that our prime minister can walk the streets and hug people because he really cares. I’m proud that we live in a world that supports immigration and offers people help when the most need it. I’m proud that for the most part we treat everyone as equals, and we generally support each other. I’m proud that Cbc broadcasted the last concert of the tragically hip without sponsorship so the whole world could share this experience. Lucky to be a Canadian

  60. Great post Deb! I’m inspired a lot by Canadians lately. I first heard of Tragically Hip a year ago when my friend, Ang (the one in the selfie with your cute prime minister) attempted to hijack the party tunes at 1am. She told me we had to listen to “the best Canadian band ever!!” When we couldn’t get the CD to work, she wanted us to go sit in the car and listen to it. Such a funny memory. I thought this band must be something special!! So wonderful to hear how they have united a country in this way.

  61. Hey Deb, I wonder if I could translate this article into Chinese so that I can share the Hip’s story with the other side of the world? I’ll credit you and attach a link to this site in the end, of course.

  62. Deb! That’s me in the selfie with Justin! I travelled from Perth, Australia to return home and see The Hip play one more time. What a small world it is that Caz and Craig shared my pic. Your blog post is awesome. You certainly captured the sentiment.

  63. Canada didn’t and doesn’t lack a national identity. Not sure what your talking about 30 years ago….TRUE CANADIANS have always known who and what we are now and forever. Our families built the country and will continue to do so with pride and positivity. The Tragically Hip only exemplify what a great country we have always had.# true canadian now and forever!!

  64. Great article! However, We not only celebrate the gold, silver and bronze…we celebrate eVen if they do not make the podium. We celebrate their success!

  65. Thank you for this. Last night was pretty amazing in that almost everyone I know (including my parents) participated in one way or another in this National Celebration. It was, of course, with mixed emotions. Last night (and even now) I shed many tears, I laughed, I sang with the band, and we shared memories of our Hip experiences. And it may seem incredulous to outsiders that our Country’s leader was at a rock concert with thousands of other fans, but we just saw it as camaraderie and support and love for one’s nation. We saw it as pride in our culture.
    For me, the most beautiful moments of the evening was the affection between all the band members. I thought the kisses were beautiful and endearing (and heartbreaking). These men are family and I just saw those displays of affection as just incredible displays of love and support for one’s own brother. These men and their families are in my prayers. And I thank them for last night’s incredible performance and for the years and the music and the memories.
    Canada has certainly showed the rest of the world something and it makes me proud.

  66. A Canadian is an unarmed American with health care. The real truth is a Cananadian is someone who doesn’t want to become an American. Trudeau will make sure that never happens.

  67. This is so beautifully written. I’m 32, and The Tragically Hip have been around ever since I can remember. I, like many others, grew up with their music and learned more about my country (good and bad) through their songs. I’m living in Dublin right now and tried really hard to stay up for the live broadcast of their final concert, but couldn’t do it (having a cold didn’t help). Today I’m listening to The Hip songs I have on my computer while I’m writing this and tearing up with pride that one band and one event could unite so many people across Canada and abroad, and speak to our national identity. I wonder if some Canadian band in the future will have a song that mentions “the concert that everyone remembers.”

    • Thanks for reading Alex. I was inspired by the Tragically Hip. I think a lot of Canadians were inspired last night and I want to world to know about them and love them the way our country does.